Access of asylum seeker children to acute paediatric services

Ir Med J. 2007 Feb;100(2):362-3.


To investigate the interface between primary care and paediatric services in the referral of asylum seekers. Over a 3 month period a questionnaire was administered, and clinical data gathered on every child attending the A&E department of UCHG whose parents were seeking asylum in this country. Control data was obtained for the next Irish child seen on-call. At the time of presentation to the paediatric service, an Irish child was 4 times more likely (32%) to have initially been seen and referred by a GP than an asylum seeker child (8%); 80% of asylum seeker families had registered with a GP, compared to 96% of controls. 24% of asylum seeker families had called and used an emergency response ambulance to get to hospital, compared to just 4% of Irish children. The rate of subsequent admission to the paediatric ward from A&E was nearly that in asylum seeker children (24%) compared to Irish controls (40%), get to hospital, compared to just 4% of Irish children. Asylum seeker children are less likely to have seen a GP prior to A&E presentation, more likely to go to hospital by ambulance and less likely to be subsequently admitted, suggesting an over-dependence on paediatric hospital services in this population.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Pediatrics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Refugees / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires